Society is calling black white and white black and sometimes it is hard not to agree. There are some sins listed in the Bible that seem… strange. Why would that be listed among the things God hates? But if there is one thing I’ve learned in my wrestling with God it is that when He calls something a sin it is always something that hurts us.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit” (James 4:13)
Tight schedules characterize western living. We have plans for our plans. If we aren’t maxed out by our calendars we wonder what’s wrong with us.
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (v.14).
But we live on a guilt trip for every moment that we don’t make count because life is short.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (v.15).
Only God can truly make each moment count. Jesus had a full schedule too, but He lived according to the Father’s will.
But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (vv. 16-17).
I wrote an article here (on assemblyHub) on saying “no” to good things, but this verse is not a contradiction but rather the other side of the same coin. While we need to guard against doing good things for the wrong reasons, we also need to make sure we do the good things God created us to do.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Ephesians 2:10).
It comes down to following what God wants us to do each day – if the Lord wills. I knew that disobeying God when He prompts us to do something is a sin against God, but I never realized that ignoring a Divine nudge was a sin against myself. To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
If we know something good we ought to do for someone and we push the thought or feeling away, it begins a downward spiral. We begin to feel guilty about not doing good for another, so we rationalize, sometimes subconsciously. We start to see the recipient of what we should’ve done as an object instead of a person with needs and feelings, negating the need for us to do anything for them.
Our own feelings become of the utmost importance and we begin demanding that the other person change in order to procure our own happiness. I start believing the lies that I am not needed, devaluing myself, and that the person doesn’t have needs, devaluing the person. These lies soon become my reality. I begin to cut myself off from that person and from the Spirit of God. A single inaction can cause years of spiritual and emotional damage.
This sin can rob the beauty of the masterpiece God is making each one of us to be.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Love God with all of my heart – my emotions, my soul – my personality, my mind – my intellect, and my strength. This would mean, at the least, following His leading when He nudges me to do good for another. And that would cover loving my neighbor as I love myself.
I don’t know about you but, when my eyes are opened to the damage I have done to myself and others through past sins, it’s pretty easy to fall into despair at my failure. However, there is a simple, albeit sometimes awkward, solution: confession of the sin, a request for forgiveness from both God and the would-be recipient, and actually doing the good deed if it’s still possible.
I know we may have heard how all of our good deeds are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but that’s before Christ saved us. Want to see what they are like after we have been redeemed?
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:8).
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Knowing to do good and not doing it is a sin. Let’s learn to listen to God’s voice and to do the good He has prepared for every one of us.